Article about Organic Farming - Part 9

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Some Other forms of Organic Management

1. Biodynamic Agriculture
Biodynamic agriculture is a method of farming that aims to treat the farm as a living system which interacts the environment, to build healthy, living soil and to produce food that nourishes and vitalizes and helps to develop mankind.

The underlying principle of biodynamics is making life-giving compost out of dead material. The methods are derived from the teachings of Rudolf Stainer and subsequent practitioners.

The important components of biodynamic farming are as follows:
a. Turning in plant materials such as green crops and straw
b. Not using chemical fertilizers and pesticides
c. Avoiding soil compaction by machinery or animals, particularly in wet weather
d. Keeping soil covered by pasture, crops or mulch not destroying the soil structure by poor farming practices such as excessive use of rotary hoe or cultivation in unsuitable weather (too wet or too dry)
e. Fallowing the land by planting deep-rooting permanent pasture species or using green crops
f. Use of preparations BD-500 and BD-501
g. Compost made with preparations BD-502 – BD-507
h. Liquid manure made with preparations BD-502 – BD-507
i. Cowpat pit manure made with preparations BD-502 – BD-507

These biodynamic preparations named BD-500 to BD-507 are not food for the plants, but they facilitate the effective functioning of etheric forces. They are also not the usual compost starters, but can stimulate compost organisms in various ways. In short they are biologically active dynamic preparations which help in harvesting the potential of astral and etheral powers for the benefit of the soil and various biological cycles in the soil. So far 9 biodynamic preparations have been developed, named as formulation 500 to 508. Out of these, formulation-500 (cow horn compost) and formulation-501 (horn-silica) are very popular and are being used bylarge number of organic farmers. Formulations-502 to 507 are compost enrichers and promoters, while formulation 508 is of prophylactic in nature and helps in control of fungal diseases.

Biodynamic formulation-500 (BD-500)
As per the established norms of biodynamic process while cow-dung is full of astral and etheral powers; the cow-horn shell has the potential to absorb astral powers. In this formulation the inherent potential of these two components is harvested in making a biologically active formulation.

a. Method of preparation - Whip fresh cow dung to prepare a thick smooth paste. Fill the empty cow horn shells with this paste. Now place these horns in the pit in upright position with the pointed closed end of horns facing upwards. Fill the pit with good fertile soil and compost mixture (25 : 1) till ground level. The soil of the pit is to be kept moist for all the time. If required sprinkle water at repeated intervals. As per the Indian moon calendar "Kwar Navratra" (October-November) is the most ideal period for placing the dung filled horns in pits. The horns are kept buried for approximately six months and are taken out during "Chaitra Navratra" (March-April). Dig out the horns at appropriate time and take out the BD-500 compost. The compost should be moist and should have a pleasing smell. Store the compost in earthen pots till its use. BD-500 can be used in any crop twice, first dose is to be applied a day before sowing and second dose after 20 days of seedling emergence. For best results it should be applied close to full moon days. BD-500 applied during lowmoon or no-moon days will not be that effective.

b. Method of application – Mix 30 gm of BD-500 in about 13 lit of rain or fresh tube-well water. Stir the solution with hand for one hour. Apply this suspension with the help of Knapsac sprayer on soil surface or as foliar spray. The best time of application is close to sunset. BD-500 application encourage the growth of beneficial microorganisms and earthworms, promote rooting process and harvest terrestrial forces for better crop growth and increased biological activity in the soil.

Biodynamic formulation 501 (BD-501)
In this formulation fine powder of quartz silica is filled in empty cow-horn shells and kept buried in soil for six months during hot summer season. Opposed to BD-500, the silica filled horns are buried during March-April (Chaitra Navratra) and taken out during Oct.-Nov. (Kwar Navratra). BD-501 is used as foliar spray and is known to be promoting photosynthetic activity of the plants, resulting into better growth of the plants and better quality of grains and fruits. 1gm BD-501 is sufficient for one acre. Mix 1gm BD-501 in 13 lit of water and mix by whirling for one hour. Apply this suspension in the field as fine mist spray. BD-501 should be applied in early morning hours when there is mild breeze. BD-501 is to be applied first at 3-4 leaf stage followed by two more application at an interval of 30 days. BD-501 also acts as prophylactic agent and helps in prevention of many fungal diseases such mildews and blights.

The article will continue tomorrow.

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